Men’s College Volleyball: Nate Royer shines as St. Ambrose defeats Cardinal Stritch at Lincoln-Way East
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media January 21, 2014 9:12PM
Updated: February 23, 2014 6:32AM
The volleyball record board that hangs over the court at Lincoln-Way East has Nate Royer’s name all over it.
Royer, a 2012 grad and East’s all-time match, season and career leader in kills, got his shot Tuesday night to slam home a few more kills, this time for his college team, St. Ambrose.
Royer’s 12 kills helped St. Ambrose to a 25-22, 25-22, 25-12 win over Cardinal Stritch in a NAIA nonconference match in Frankfort.
“It was really nice to come back and play,” Royer said. “We thought it might be weird to come back, but we were looking forward to it all week. It showed in how we played.”
Ryan Mahl’s 17 kills led St. Ambrose (3-0), with Nick Lynch dishing out 39 assists for the Fighting Bees. George Langheld, a 2010 East grad, finished with seven kills, including the match-winner.
“There was a little more adrenaline than a normal away match on a Tuesday,” Langheld said with a smile. “It definitely helped us get pumped up.”
That pumped-up mentality worked the wrong way for the Fighting Bees in the second set, with Stritch going ahead 5-0 after of three huge blocks at the net.
“Things go wrong every once in a while,” Royer said. “We had to take a deep breath, get a good pass and get the ball in transition.”
Royer helped turn it around. The sophomore outside scored St. Ambrose’s first point, then added a big block and floated a kill past the defense as part of a 5-1 spurt. A Mahl kill capped a 6-0 run later for the Bees, who went ahead 15-11.
Mahl continued his assault on Stritch (1-1) in the third set, powering six kills.
“We talked about it at a team meeting, how good it would feel to whoop a good team, beat them bad,” Mahl said. “That was the attitude we had, coming out knowing we’re better and showing it.”
As for the potential of the college match on a high school court becoming an annual thing in the south suburbs, St. Ambrose coach Bill Gleeson, a Brother Rice grad, is more than up for it.
“This would be a great event on a yearly basis,” Gleeson said. “A volleyball-rich community like this, it’s great for them to come out and see what the next level is like. I’m just happy we came out on the winning side.”